What good is a goal that is set and then forgotten? In this lesson, I want to teach students that goals are meant to be remembered and used to help them grow and get better at a task.
I start this lesson by reminding them of the goals that they set months ago at the beginning of the year. Many of them wrote that they would accomplish parts of their goal within 2 months which would be right about now. I tell them that today they are going to reflect on if they are making progress and whether or not they need to change it to be more realistic.
In my class, we use a clock partner system where students have a clock face with a name of a peer matching each of the 12 numbers on the clock. Whenever I need them to be with a partner, I choose a number then tell them to meet with the person that matches that number.
For this next part, I ask them to meet with their number 3 and read their goal to their partner.
After they read their goals out loud, I ask for their attention. I explain that remembering our goals as we work towards improving our reading skills helps us stay focus and keeps us going. However, sometimes it’s helpful to look back at them and decide if they are still reasonable or if they need to be changed a little.
I show them a few examples on the board. For example, “I will read 50 books by November 1st. I am going to do this by reading 1 hr every day” and “I will read 1,000 pages by November 1st. I will do this by reading a lot.”
I use the first example to show that some goals are unrealistic. For that particular example, I explained that students should be reading “just right” books and at the time they wrote that goal, they didn’t realize how difficult it would be to read 50 just right books. Now they need to look back on how many books they actually read and try to make a more reasonable goal, maybe 10-15 books every 2 months. For the second example, I explain that sometimes we reach our goals much quicker than we originally thought. For example, most students who are reading 1 hr a day in a just right book, would reach the 1,000 page goal within a matter of weeks, not months. Also, 1,000 is such a big number that it might be hard to make small efforts towards the goal. I suggest that students who have reached their goal faster than they thought, decide if they still need to work on that goal and if so, make smaller goals, such as reading 500 pgs a week, or so.
After I share these examples, I ask students to tell talk with their partners about what changes if any, they would make to their goal.
After they have had a chance to share, I ask for a few examples and use them to show students what an effective goal looks like and how to fix any that are not quite there yet.
I ask students to write their new or revised goals in their learning journal.
Finally, after students have written their goals, I ask a few more students to share out to the class what they wrote. I help students see that there are many other students with similar goals and areas of focus and encourage them to support each other in any way as we all work to improve our reading skills.